Danny drives. Martin stares out the window, wondering how anyone could make this commute every day. Granted, the people they're on their way to see have the kind of money that means they don't have to.
They pass picturesque wharves and shingle-sided antique shops, all stuff his grandmother loved. There's a house a mile away that has his and his sister's name on the deed. They have an agent who rents it out for them and sends them monthly checks. He thinks about asking Danny to turn at the light so he can look in; but at the sight of Danny's face looking out over the sunlit water, he doesn't say a thing.
Standing on the front walk, Martin gazes up and down the street and says, "You know, I never fit in out here."
"You know people out here?" Danny asks.
"Used to make the trip with friends when I was in high school." Martin rings the doorbell. "Somehow I never quite managed to be what they wanted me to be."
Danny looks him up and down, assessing openly. "No, I don't suppose you did."
Martin doesn't know how to answer that, but the front door opens and he doesn't have to.
Their missing girl's parents are nuts, Danny decides after three minutes of him and Martin each giving their best at soothing professionalism. They're the kind of people who care more about what the neighbors will think than where their missing daughter might be, although they finally stop and show a little concern when Danny tells them about the broken laptop found at the bottom of the stairs in Amy's building.
"I take it you're less than happy with her choice of career," Danny says, and they both start ranting about unsought medical degrees and Amy's criminal waste of a perfectly good mind.
Martin vaguely remembers Doreen Johansson, but he doesn't mention it. Twenty years ago, when he was a teenager on break from school, he and his buddies slipped into party after party, drinking beer and ogling girls. Amy would've been in elementary school then. He doesn't think he ever met her.
They stop for a late breakfast in a tiny café on the water. Martin hasn't been here in over a decade, but it's the same, right down to the table cloths. Out the window, he can see a dock about two hundred yards away; it's where he gave his first blowjob half a lifetime ago. The scent of the ocean wind brings it all rushing back, and suddenly he's got a crazy urge to go sailing. He wonders if Danny sails. He's on the verge of asking when the lunchtime crowd starts to file in, and instead he rushes to finish his meal. A couple of faces look familiar—too familiar—but not enough to tack a name to. Just enough to dredge more memories.
As they leave, Danny brushes his shoulder, and then bumps him harder. "You okay, man?"
"Yeah," he says. "Sure."
"You don't look okay." Danny turns to face him. "What, you afraid of running into some old exes out here?"
Martin rolls his eyes, tries to shoulder past.
Danny grabs his arm, a surprised grin lighting his face. "You are. You totally are."
Martin tries to school his features, but it's a lost cause. There's one guy and a couple of girls out here he wouldn't mind running into, and several others he hopes like hell he won't. "We've all done stuff we're not proud of, right?"
"Hooking up with someone you like—is that something to be ashamed of?" Danny's giving him way more credit than he deserves, or maybe he thinks Martin's as innocent as he looks. Martin can't tell. All he sees is Danny's 'patient' look, like he's ready to block the sidewalk all day waiting for an honest answer.
Martin takes a step towards the car to get them moving again. "Do me a favor. Leave it alone?"
"Whatever you want," Danny says, guileless, and Martin lets him drive so he won't have to feel Danny's eyes on him all the way back to the city.
Amy doesn't go out much. She doesn't see her parents more than twice a year, despite living less than an hour away. Apparently she doesn't tell people she's one of those Johanssons, and the few friends Samantha and Viv have found so far had no idea she came from money—only that she made a good living from her publishing job, as the financials confirm, but wasn't the type to flaunt it.
It makes the kidnapping angle less likely, which is both good and bad.
She reads voraciously, though, and every wall of her apartment is lined with bookshelves. Danny skims the shelves, checks the desk and nightstand for current titles.
"Find anything?" Martin asks.
"Other than that she reads five books at once? Not so much. You?"
"Erotica in the nightstand. No diary."
"Probably on the computer."
"If she keeps one at all," Martin says.
Danny gestures at the shelves. "I'd be surprised if any woman who reads this much didn't."
"Well, let's hope they can recover the hard drive because I have no idea where she could be."
"Want to have a go at the personal trainer?"
Martin sighs. "Might as well."
Danny squeezes his shoulder and herds him toward the door. He's getting worried this might be a case they can't close, since they're already past forty hours in and have nothing. He hopes Jack is having better luck with the coworkers.
It's bad when they turn up dead, but it's worse when there's nothing at all, when it's like they were simply erased.
Dinner's a quick hamburger at the diner across the street while waiting for Jack and Sam to get back from interviewing Amy's boss and ex-boyfriend. They've been sifting through email, chat logs, and phone records for hours and Martin's feeling—he doesn't know what he's feeling, but the noisy restaurant is a helluva lot better than the oppressive silence of the office.
"You okay?" Danny asks.
Martin doesn't answer at first, then shakes his head. "These people. Her parents, I mean. My mom's folks had a summer house not too far from where we were this morning…I used to get sent to visit when I was a kid, especially once I started boarding school. They had aspirations for me: I was supposed to mingle with the children of the rich and famous, that kind of shit."
"Sure." Danny's nodding along, attention focused on his food in a way that makes it easier for Martin to let himself talk. He hasn't told anybody about this stuff in years, and he isn't sure why he wants to, but he does.
"Summer when I was thirteen," he says, "there was an actor I really liked, and I was all, you know, looking forward to getting to meet him. So the day before this big event, my dad comes up from DC for the weekend, and—" Martin breaks off with a scowl and takes a long sip of his iced tea before continuing, "—and, being my father, he decides to swear me to secrecy and tell me all the dirt the Bureau has on this guy."
Martin shrugs. "It...I don't know. In hindsight it was all piddly stuff—minor drug use, some affairs, nothing really scandalous—but at the time..."
"Yeah. But also," Martin pauses, rubs his face as he searches for words. "Maybe a certain level of disillusionment can be a good thing? I think it helped, in the long run, since after that there wasn't a room I wouldn't walk right into."
Martin cants his head. "Yeah, okay, except for my father's study, but otherwise..."
Danny gives him a wry look. "Me? They would've called the police."
"That…sucks," Martin says, suddenly feeling like a whiny brat.
"I was a hoodlum, you weren't," Danny answers with a shrug. "You ever been out to Fire Island?"
"Mm, good hiking." Martin mops up ketchup with a few fries, chews, swallows. "Oh, you mean Cherry Grove. What, you think what's-his-name—Murphree—is our guy?"
"Him? Nah." Danny slides his hands around his glass and looks down at the melting ice cubes.
Right then, the waitress shows up with the check and their take-out order for Viv. Martin hands over a credit card and drains the rest of his drink. She's back in a flash as Danny's phone rings, so Martin signs the bill and they go.
Danny hangs up as they cross back to their security entrance. "Okay, so, Viv may have something on an internet stalker angle."
They're in the office break room. The coffee's empty, so Danny's brewing a fresh pot. Jack sent them both home a few hours before dawn with orders to get at least four hours' sleep. It's been an odd case—Danny doesn't usually work with Martin so much, but this one has a crazy number of people of interest. It makes him wish the web had never gone public.
Martin comes in bearing breakfast. "I didn't know if you ate," he says, chuckling at Danny's grin. Danny can always eat.
"Thanks." Danny pours coffee and Martin unpacks the sack of bacon and egg bagels from the deli downstairs. He wonders, watching Martin unwrap the foil and take his first bite. He wonders at Martin's avoidance of his question about Fire Island, his ease with Murphree-the-trainer, his sudden willingness to talk about his youth.
"What?" Martin asks, when he notices Danny staring.
Danny takes a bite and chews, stalling for time. Finally he checks the door to make sure they're not about to be interrupted and says, "Can I ask you something?"
"You don't usually talk." He jerks his chin toward their area of the bullpen, but keeps his eyes on Martin. "The last couple of days—it's different."
"You don't either," Martin says, raising an eyebrow. "Or, not that I've seen."
Danny doesn't answer, just keeps watching Martin.
Martin shrugs, but he doesn't look away. "I guess you're easy to talk to."
Over Martin's shoulder, Danny spots Jack through the glass; he's headed their way, coffee cup in hand. Danny gets to his feet, gathering his half of their breakfast, and decides that if he's wrong, he can apologize later. Quickly, he leans over the table, close enough that he can smell Martin's aftershave; close enough that it's as much question as invitation. He murmurs, "I like it," and pulls away. Then he's exchanging sleepy greetings with Jack and crossing the bullpen to finish eating at his desk.
"That son of a bitch!" Sam says. Martin jerks his head up. Like the rest of them she's been at her computer, hunting for a lead in her share of the email and chat logs recovered from Amy's laptop. "Landry, the ex-boyfriend, lied to us. They had a date to spend the weekend at his cabin."
Ten minutes later, they have the location. Thirty minutes after that, they're suited up and loading into a caravan of Tahoes for the drive northwest to the Catskills. SWAT's going with them, since they don't have an eye on the inside. They don't even know if the girl's still alive.
Sam fidgets. Vivian sits up front with Jack, trying to put together Curt Landry's profile. Danny puts on his sunglasses and leans against the window; for all Martin can tell, he's asleep. From the third seat in the back, Martin watches them all, his team, and decides that he hates these cases the most of all. He hates the drive. He resents every mile they have to travel because by the time they finally get there, the girl could be dead, Landry could be gone, anything could happen. When things go down in the city, there's never enough time for him to stress himself out with the waiting.
It occurs to him that maybe that's why Danny's trying to sleep.
Landry won't come out, and Jack ends up ordering a sniper to shoot him, saying in an indifferent voice, "If you can get a non-fatal shot, that would probably be better, but whatever you can do." Danny can't help his muffled snort of laughter. He shouldn't laugh—it's somebody's life after all—but this whole thing has turned even more frustrating because Landry's barely even armed. He's got a shotgun, but it's laying on the sideboard, not pointed at Amy at all. But he is twice Amy's size, and she doesn't have a chance at fighting him off.
The sniper gets him through the left shoulder. Amy shrieks and Landry bellows, and the team crowds into the tiny cabin to secure the scene. Then Vivian and Sam throw the men out and take care of the girl.
Four days, she'd been there, they learn after the paramedics take Amy away. Four days of him keeping her there, sedating her when he left and keeping her tied up the rest of the time. More berating her for leaving him than actually hurting her. More holding her prisoner than anything. But still way too much.
At least the girl's okay, Danny tells himself, but he's still pissed.
The drive back doesn't help. They've all come down from their adrenaline highs, and Martin falls asleep in the back seat. Sam dozes. Danny sits sideways and catches a few minutes' sleep with his face resting against the back of the seat.
He wakes to the sound of Martin mumbling, and stretches an arm out to shake him out of his dream. But once his hand grasps Martin's shoulder, Danny holds on, stroking lightly, until Martin settles again. Martin's skin is warm through the shirt, and it takes an effort for Danny to let go.
When they get back, Jack excuses Danny and Martin from paperwork until morning, since they hadn't done anything in the actual takedown. "Get some sleep," he orders, and Danny gives thanks. He follows Martin into the elevator. Then he follows Martin to the cabstand.
At the corner Martin opens his mouth three times, the question clear on his face, but no words come out.
Danny says, "Invite me over? Or else come to Queens with me."
Martin's eyes crinkle in the corners, and Danny reads mild surprise, then pleasure. Danny tilts his head, edges a little deeper into Martin's space, mostly because he can. He can't suppress the grin that's forming, but Martin's right there with him. "Mine's closer," Martin says, and leads them to a taxi.
"What do you do?" Martin asks, cringing inwardly at the question. Danny's not some anonymous pickup; he shouldn't treat him that way.
But Danny says, "Name it."
"I trust you. What do you like?" Danny holds Martn's gaze long enough to make him blush.
Martin hesitates, then shakes his head. "Not like this." Danny waits. Martin looks down, glances around his spare living room, not sure how to phrase it. He wants to be able to look Danny in the eye at work in the morning. And the next day, and the day after that.
Danny's thumb strokes over his wrist.
Martin catches Danny's hand and traces a wide circle over the back of it; then he turns his hand palm-up and does it again. Danny's skin is warm and smooth; and Martin's torn between the urge to open his pants and wrap Danny's hand around his cock, and the urge to lift Danny's hand to his lips and lay a dry kiss on each scarred knuckle.
He looks up again. Danny's stepped closer, his attention all on Martin, and the echo of a generic cruising script vanishes. In a low voice, Martin says, "If all I wanted was sex, I sure as hell wouldn't pick a guy I work with. I like—I mean I would like…" he trails off, still caught at the same stumbling block.
A slow smile spreads across Danny's face, and he leans in, presses a gentle kiss to Martin's mouth. "I can do that," he says. "I'd like to do that."
Danny's hands are marking a warm trail up his back; Martin slides his fingertips across Danny's jaw, and pulls him in.